The games may go on.
Indianola spring athletes who appeared headed for a cancellation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will have a chance to return to their sports in May.
Iowa high school sports will resume with practices Friday, May 1, according to schedules released Monday by the Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.
Activities are currently suspended through April 30. Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has recommended Iowa schools remain closed until that date.
“We know what the next step could look like,” said Lee Nelson, Indianola athletic director, Tuesday. “There definitely is that hope for people.”
The announcement by the state athletic association also set postseason competition dates. All spring sports at Indianola – track, tennis, soccer and girls’ golf – had state tournaments pushed back.
The first rescheduled state event will be the boys’ and girls’ track meet June 4-6 at Drake Stadium in Des Moines. That kicks off a compressed state tournament season that will be held in June. It includes a state soccer schedule that alternates tournament days for boys and girls June 15-20.
Word of the possible season restart thrilled athletes who had been hopeful they wouldn’t miss out on the spring.
“I was super, super thrilled,” said Paige Bily, a junior tennis player. “That means we have to go back to school and things are starting to get back to normal.”
High school activities across Iowa, including practices, were suspended in mid-March after the coronavirus spread through the state. Schools are currently out until April 30. The first Iowa cases of the virus were reported in early March.
As of Tuesday, Iowa had 1,048 confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. Warren County has reported 12 confirmed cases.
Indianola’s school board will vote to determine procedures for the remainder of the academic year as early as April 13, Superintendent Art Sathoff said in a video message posted on the school district’s website Tuesday.
Baseball and softball practice are scheduled to start Monday, May 4.
Nelson said Little Hawkeye Conference activities directors will gather Wednesday in an online meeting to discuss schedule changes and other matters. The conference boys’ and girls’ track meet – one of the biggest spring events – has already been set for May 21 at Norwalk.
He said administrators and coaches have tried to keep things positive during the shutdown.
Athletes, meanwhile, tried to stay connected and in shape when practices were abruptly canceled.
Some spent their time working out on their own, wherever they could.
Senior track athlete Grant Hixson, who said he plans to play football at Dordt College, has worked with a football skills trainer in Des Moines. He set up a pullup bar in his basement.
He also tried to stay in touch with his track teammates. Hixson competes in the high jump and runs on the 4x100 and shuttle hurdle relays.
“We had big hopes for breaking a couple of school records,” Hixson said of the relays.
Bily said she has kept in shape since March by taking lessons, practicing with her parents and doing cardio work. That routine will change, as the park she practiced in closed Tuesday.
As to finding volunteers to assist with events, Nelson is confident that individuals to serve as track officials, bus drivers and the like will be eager to return to activities.
“People will be more than happy to get out and help,” Nelson said.
It’s a potential return to a more normal, though brief, season.
“Everyone probably feels that way, if they’re part of spring activities,” Nelson said.